UN post-2015 negotiations promise to leave no one behind

Posted on: Wednesday, 5th August, 2015
Young girl being pushed by her family in her wheelchair to school.

"CBM welcomes the new post-2015 agenda which is disability inclusive and promises an equal, inclusive and sustainable society for all.

The final round of governmental negotiations on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) took place on 2 August 2015 at the United Nations headquarters in New York. The SDGs are a new set of goals, targets and indicators that countries around the world will be expected to achieve over the next 15 years. They set out an action plan to eradicate poverty in all its forms, realise human rights and to leave no one behind, including people with disabilities.

These negotiations have led to government’s agreeing the new agenda “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” which will be adopted in September. 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets were agreed during the session, demonstrating the scale and ambition of the new universal agenda.

This is a hugely important moment for people with disabilities, as the SDGs will determine what is prioritised by governments and development agencies for the next 15 years. The SDGs replace the 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which were successful in many ways, but despite reducing poverty, did not achieve a sustainable improvement in the living conditions of many of the poorest people, including people with disabilities.

The inclusion of disability in the SDGs marks a huge shift from the MDGs, and signals that the inclusion of people with disabilities has to be central to development. People with disabilities are explicitly referenced 11 times in the final outcome document and seven times in the goals.

Disability is also included wherever ‘vulnerable’ is referenced. The document acknowledges that 80% of people with disabilities live in poverty - putting people with disabilities at the heart of the poverty eradication agenda.

The agreement of this agenda is a huge and important milestone, but it is not the end. Now that disability is secured in the outcome document we must make sure that the indicators, that will track the progress of the SDGs, reflect the same level of ambition.

Hannah Loryman, CBM UK’s Senior Policy Officer said, “The inclusion of disability in the SDGs has the potential to be transformative for people with disabilities around the world.""

""People with disabilities will be able to use this document to hold their governments to account and to advocate for their rights. But progress will only happen if we can measure what change is happening. To do this we need to make sure that data is broken down by disability, and it is really positive that the agreed agenda states that this should happen. We also need to make sure that the targets that mention disability are matched with appropriate indicators. Getting the measurement of these goals right will be essential to make sure that people with disabilities are not left behind again,” Hannah continues.

Getting to this point has taken several years of work. Since the beginning of 2012, CBM and its partners have been advocating at the national and international level to ensure that the SDGs are inclusive of, and accessible to, people with disabilities. Our work will continue to advocate for the inclusion of people with disabilities in the measurement and implementation of the framework.

You can find more information about how disability is included in the outcome document here and more information about CBM’s work on post-2015 here.

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